Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day 15 – The jinx is still on

I should have suspected something when I first learned my return flight came back through Denver.

First, I never connected with Gustav and Christine, even though the two of them made separate trips to the airport. I waited in exactly the same place I had waited for Chrissy two weeks before, but nada! Of course, here I am coming from sunny, warm Egypt and I get to stand in the cold, winter air from 8:45 to 9:30 am. By that time I was getting pretty cold, and it was starting to snow, so I moved myself to the interior of the terminal, where I waited at the Treffpunkt until 10:30 am. Sigh, my looked for meeting with my dear friends didn’t get to pass.

OK, so I entertained myself for a couple of hours and then went to board my Frankfurt to Denver flight, at 12:35 pm. Ah, but the damn thing had been delayed, so it was not until 14:30 pm we were put in the bus and driven to the far confines of the airport to a Air Bus that seemed to have been brought out of deep frozen storage. All along we saw airplanes being dowsed with this green stuff, which is used as a de-icer. OK, so we are all packed in the plane, ready to go by 15:30, when the captain comes on the PA system to announce that now we have to wait to be de-iced, and the de-icer coordinator has us scheduled for 16:30. But we are in a faraway, almost forgotten corner of the airport, miles and miles away from where the de-icing action is taking place. As it turns out, the bloody de-icer coordinator is a dirty, deceiving, lying scoundrel, who every half hour he promises he is sending the de-icing truck. Finally, at 19:30, when hope has died in all our hearts, the green goop arrives. Ah, but we don’t want to breath what is in the green stuff, so the AC system is turned off, and over the next hour we get to almost suffocate as we see, for the tenth time, the safety announcement that promises we are ready for takeoff. Finally we take off, at 20:30, with exactly 7 hours of delay with respect to our original flight plan.

By the time we get to Denver, at 22:00, it is too late to catch a connecting flight. Of course Chrissy has my jacket back in Frankfurt, so when I hear that it is -5 degrees C (20 degrees F) outside I start to shake uncontrollably, remembering another time when I almost died of exposure at the same airport. So, shamelessly I stole one of the little Lufthansa blankets, wrapped myself in it Arab style, and was bracing to spend a shivering night at the airport when Lufthansa came through one more time. They put the whole plane up for the night in local hotels, paid for dinner at the hotel, and booked everyone in the first flight out of Denver (which for me is the 9:50 am flight that should put me in Sacramento at 11:00 am).

I am bummed that I am not going to be on time for my classes, but I managed to e-mail all my students by 9 pm California time, so if they are typical university students that check their e-mail one last time before going to bed most of them will know that I am stranded in Denver and we will not have class.

So, all is well that ends well, but I have to acknowledge that the Denver jinx is still on.

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